Organized trip to Yunnan: 14 days in China with driver and guide

Organized trip to Yunnan: Discover the most authentic and diverse province in China

If you are looking for an organized trip to Yunnan, you are in the right place. Traveling in China can be complicated by the language barrier so the route includes an experienced guide who has lived in Yunnan for years and will make your trip much easier. 

Also, getting around China, looking for stations, buying tickets, taking taxis, etc. can sometimes be a real hassle. That’s why the route is planned to be done with a private driver to take you everywhere. Without a doubt, it is a lifesaver for any trip in China and, above all, for Yunnan, a province that is not yet used to tourism.

As the Lonely Planet says in his book “Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos & the Greater Mekong”: If you want to go to China, but only have time to see one province, that should definitely be Yunnan.

Viaje a Yunnan - Ciudad antigua de Dali
Yunnan – Dali Old Town

What goals did we set for ourselves during our 14-day tour of Yunnan?

During these 14 day trip to Yunnan the objectives we set ourselves will be: 

  • Get to know the different ethnic minorities in Yunnan, their customs and way of life.
  • Visit mountain villages that have remained the same for over a hundred years.
  • Visit villages that have managed to preserve ancient Chinese architecture.
  • Walk among millenary rice terraces and enjoy the peace that surrounds them.
  • Discover the highest river canyons in the world.
  • Enjoy the beautiful temples and the varied parks of Yunnan.
  • Taste the local cuisine, so different in each village we visit.
  • Broaden our knowledge of Chinese culture and history.
  • Experience an unforgettable trip full of unique moments.

Organized trip to Yunnan – Itinerary through Yunnan:

The following is a step-by-step account of the 14-day route through Yunnan:

  • Day 1: Arrival Kunming – Shilin
  • Day 2 and 3: Shilin – Yuanyang
  • Day 4: Yuanyang – Jianshui
  • Day 5: Jianshui – Shibing – Kunming
  • Day 6: Kunming – Weishan
  • Day 7 & 8: Weishan – Dali
  • Day 9: Dali – Shibaoshan Mountain – Shaxi
  • Day 10: Shaxi – Tiger Leaping Gorge – Tibetan Shangrila
  • Day 11 & 12: Shangrila – Lijiang
  • Day 13 &14: Lijiang – Kunming

Yunnan travel itinerary: our day-to-day life

Day 1: Arrival Kunming – Shilin Limestone Forest

Arrival in Kunming, the capital of Yunnan. Transfer directly to Shilin Limestone Forest. The Shilin Limestone Forest, located 86 km from Kunming, is a park noted for its tall boulders emerging from the ground, forming an impressive stone forest.

This place was recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007 and offers a unique and unforgettable experience among extraordinary geological formations. Accommodation in Shilin.

Day 2 & 3: From Shilin to Yuanyang Rice Terraces

Drive to the Yuanyang Rice Terraces, 250km from Shilin, making several stops along the way to visit villages with lots of charm and history. In Yuanyang, we will explore the most famous rice terraces in the area, such as Bada, Duoyishu and the famous Laohuzui viewpoint. Two days accommodation in Yuanyang.

Day 4: Yuanyang to Jianshui and its famous Double Dragon Bridge

From Yuanyang Terraces we will drive to Jianshui. On the way, we will stop to see the Double Dragon Bridge (Shuang Long Qiao) built during the Qing Dynasty in the 19th century and visit TuanShan, a well-preserved ancient village 13km from Jianshui.

We will also enjoy the old part of Jianshui and the main wall similar to what one can find in the Forbidden City in Beijing. Jianshui its 110Km from Yuanyang. We will stay in Jianshui.

Day 5: From Jianshui to Kunming, the city of Spring

From Jianshui we will go to Kunming, stopping in Shibing. Kunming, the capital of Yunnan is known as “The City of Spring” because of its good climate. It is 1800m above sea level.

We will visit the sights of the city center and the Green Lake, a beautiful lake where locals gather to perform traditional Yunnan dances. Overnight in Kunming.

Day 6: Kunming – Weishan, old town

From Kunming we will go to Weishan, located in Dali County. Weishan is a beautiful city that has managed to preserve its old town built in the Ming dynasty, 600 years ago.

Another point of interest to visit in the area, just 15 km away, is Weibaoshan; one of the 14 Taoist mountains in China.

Day 7 and 8: Weishan – Dali, the walled old town and Erhai Lake

One of the most famous cities in Yunnan for its old town. On the first day we will visit the old part of Dali, which is surrounded by walls and has managed to preserve the traditional architecture of the Bai ethnic minority.

On the second day, we will tour Erhai Lake, one of the largest lakes in China. We will stop at various fishing villages and visit the Three Pagodas of Dali. Both days we will stay in the old part of Dali.

Day 9: Dali – Shibaoshan Mountain – Shaxi

Shaxi: Two hours from Dali is this quiet village historically known as a tea and horse trading center. We will visit Shibao Mountain, home to some of the most important stone carvings in China.

Shaxi, still away from tourism, is perfect for immersing yourself in the China of dynasties and emperors. It is 150km from Dali. Accommodation in the old town of Shaxi.

Day 10: Shaxi – Tiger Leaping Gorge – Tibetan Shangrila

Visit to Tiger Leaping Gorge, the highest river canyons in the world, passing where we can enjoy the spectacular views of the Yangse River.

Then, we will continue to Shangrila. At an altitude of 3300m, Shangrila is the capital of the Diqing Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture. The majority of the inhabitants are ethnic Tibetans and both the architecture of the houses and the temples are Tibetan style.

In Shangrila, we will know the ancient part and its surroundings, full of Tibetan temples and abundant nature. 220km from Shaxi. Accommodation in the ancient part of Shangrila.

Day 11 & 12: Shangrila – Old Town Lijiang

Lijiang is possibly the most charming village in Yunnan, but also the most touristic. Stone bridges, streams, cobbled streets and houses of traditional Chinese architecture make it worth a visiting.

We will get to know the Naxi culture, the ethnic minority from Tibet and currently the largest in the area. The old part of Lijiang was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1997. 180Km from Shangrila. Lodging in the old part of Lijiang.

Day 13-14: Return to Kunming and Farewell to China

Return to Kunming where we will enjoy a little more of the capital of Yunnan and all it has to offer. Farewell dinner in Kunming. The next day, on the 14th, our driver will take us to the airport.

Services included in the trip to Yunnan

To make your trip around Yunnan easier, the price of the route we offer is almost all included:

  1. 13 days of hotel.
  2. Breakfast at the hotels.
  3. Private Spanish-speaking guide for the entire trip.
  4. Car with private driver for the whole trip.
  5. Tickets to temples and parks.
  6. Travel insurance. (If you prefer, you can pick it up separately here: 5% discount on your Mondo travel insurance)
  7. Visa processing for China – News! No visa fee is required to 15-day stay! For citizens of France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Malaysia, from December 2023 to November 30, 2024, ordinary passport holders of these countries will be able to do business or travel to China without a visa for up to 15 days.

Services not included in the trip to Yunnan

  1. Lunches and dinners (We have not included it to give more flexibility to the travelers to choose want they want day by day. It’s difficult to spend more than 10-20 euros a day per person. If you want, we can include the food in the total price.)
  2. Plane ticket. We can advise you on dates, combinations and flights, but it is recommended that you pay for your flight ticket individually and personally.

Organized Trip to Yunnan: Travel as a couple, with friends or in a group

You can choose to travel to Yunnan as a couple, with friends or in an organized group. If you prefer to travel as a couple or with friends in private, we can organize a trip to Yunnan during any time of the year. However, if you choose to travel in an organized group, we have divided the travel groups into fortnights. The groups are minimum of 2 people and maximum of 10.

  1. First half of July
  2. Second half of July
  3. First half of August
  4. Second half of August
  5. First half of September

Frequently asked questions about our 12-day route to Yunnan

  1. We are currently working closely with an agency in China. They take care of the legal formalities, travel insurance, invoicing, hotel bookings and arranging transport and drivers for us.
  2. My responsibility and my job is to plan the route, organize the groups, coordinate with the agency the requirements and needs of each group, be your guide during the trip and make sure that everything goes as agreed.
  3. In case I cannot be your guide due to prior commitments or other reasons, you will be accompanied by another experienced Spanish-speaking Yunnan resident guide.
  4. From Madrid to Kunming or from Barcelona to Kunming, a return flight ticket usually costs between 600 – 1200 euros.
  5. Most hostels are 3 or 4 starts. We have looked for accommodation that combine a modern style with the traditional style of each place we are going. Therefore, we will be able to enjoy the essence of each place and, at the same time, have all the amenities at hand. You can contact us so that we can send an example of the list of our hotels.
  6. Breakfast is included at all hotels. It can be free buffet or a la carte choice. In almost all hotels you can choose between western or eastern breakfast.
  7. The best time to visit a water- filled rice terraces in Yunnan is between December and February. In Yunnan, the weather is usually good throughout most of the year, but if you come in the summer, during the rainy season, it is possible that rains.
  8. If this route is not suitable for you, we can also design/organize a more personalize route for you.

Price of the 14 day trip to Yunnan

The price of the trip varies according to the people who come on the trip. The more people who sign up, the cheaper it is:

  • 2-3 Persons: 2300 euros per person + Airline ticket
  • 4-6 Persons: 2000 euros per person + Airline ticket
  • 7-8 Persons: 1800 euros per person + Airline ticket
  • 9-10 Persons: 1600 euros per person + Airline ticket

Prices are approximate and may vary according to the requirements of each group and the season in which they travel.

Organized trip to Yunnan - JianShui


  1. The maximum altitude of the area involved in the activity is 3160. Although no physically strenuous activities will be done, the altitude may cause dizziness, headache, higher than normal fatigue, lack of appetite.
  2. During winter, the lowest (night) temperature in the area of the activity is around 0 degrees and can reach 5 degrees below zero in Shangri-La. Please, wear warm clothes.
  3. When entering the minority areas, please obey the customs of ethnic minorities; respect all local customs and cultures.
  4. Considering the safety of this activity, the travel agency and the tour guide will not be legally or financially responsible for all consequences caused by accidents and injuries due to personal factors and natural factors during the activity.
  5. Strictly protect the environment and remove the garbage. It is prohibited to place commemorative signs and other items in the area of the activity. Wild animals and plants will be protected and will not be killed or destroyed.
  6. Due to the environment, conditions, if there is any dissatisfaction with food, housing, transportation, please understand that this is an adventure trip.
  7. Take good care of public property. If there is any damage caused by you, you will compensate according to the degree of damage.
  8. The tour leader has the right to adjust the content and schedule of the activity, according to the progress of the activity, weather conditions and other factors.

Important note: There are risks in any type of exercise. In case of illness, injury or death during exercise, we will help you seek medical treatment and follow-up with insurance immediately. Our company and the third party will not make any compensation.

More information or contact me

Feel free to check out the blog for more information on each city. Also, here I talk about the 8 best places to visit if you are coming to Yunnan. You may also be interested in our shorter route of 11 days visiting Yunnan. Take a look at the two itineraries to see which one you like the most.

If you decide to take a trip to China and visit Yunnan, you can contact us ( for any questions you may have about our organized trip to Yunnan, specify the method of payment and tell us what dates you would like to come on the trip.

Attention: The restrictions for Covid-19 in China are over, so we are back to organizing routes through Yunnan. And from December 2023 to November 2024, no visa fee is required to stay in China for a 15-day trip! 

We don’t travel to escape life, we travel so that life doesn’t escape us.

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